Kobe Bryant has undoubtedly faced his share of PR hurtles over the course of his NBA career. Ten years have passed since the celebrity was confronted with image-altering sexual assault charges. Though the case was eventually dismissed, Bryant continues to struggle in the court of public opinion. The Los Angeles Lakers star remains on Forbes’ top 10 list of America’s Most Disliked Athletes.
When Bryant joined Twitter earlier this year, many were curious how the controversial athlete would handle candid criticism from outspoken followers on the social network.
Bryant had a defining PR moment this Sunday in front of his 1.3 million followers.
After one follower insulted another by writing: “You’re gay,” Bryant quickly chided the individual for using the term in a derogatory manner.
Some found the exchange hypocritical, as Bryant recently faced a reputation crisis after hurling a gay slur in a 2011 game. But Bryant directly and tastefully addressed his critic who pointed that out. Regarding the 2011 incident, he tweeted: “That wasn’t cool and was ignorant on my part. I own it and learn from it and expect others to do the same.”
Though Bryant is new to the social media game, his smart use of Twitter is straight out of the crisis management playbook. The star’s seemingly heartfelt contrition demonstrated that he seems to have learned from his mistakes and will also use his stature to advocate for the greater issue.
Bryant’s social media savvy didn’t go unnoticed. His posts received positive press attention extending far beyond the sports world. While Kobe Bryant’s PR path has been long and winding with plenty of ups and downs, this latest tweet could help steer down the road to reputation redemption.